Monitoring and evaluation
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Why do monitoring and evaluation matter?
To scale-up community energy we need to know what works and be able to prove it.
To secure funding and carry out business planning communities need evidence of their achievements to support bids and to be able to project what they might achieve with given activities and resources.
Monitoring and evaluation can also provide the government with much-needed evidence on which to base policy decisions and energy efficiency programmes. Effective community involvement in national and local energy efficiency programmes could significantly increase their impact.
Community energy could have a role alongside ‘big’ energy in the UK. To understand what this role might be we need evidence of what works, which delivery and finance models are sustainable, how much resource is required to scale-up activity to a national level.
Perhaps most importantly, monitoring and evaluation are good project management practice. They will improve how you learn and run your projects and lend your organisation credibility. When seeking project partners this level of professionalism is essential.
Do not see it as an additional burden but a valuable task which you can learn from and use to:
- Stay on track and deliver goals
- Detect problems earlier
- Stick to allocated time and budget
- Real time information
- Ongoing progress
- Regular feedback to stakeholders/management
- Delivered by the programme/project team
- E.g. regular Key Performance Indicators report
- In-depth assessment of activities
- Assessment of extent to which objectives are being achieved
- Either on-going or after project completion
- Informing decision-making process for future programmes/projects
- Where possible, delivered independently
Download the monitoring and evaluation sections of the Community Energy Efficiency Toolkit:
- Monitoring and evaluation definitions
- Evaluation planning
- Data collection
- Evaluating change and impact
- Data protection and ethics
- Data analysis and reporting
- Example Logic and Carbon Maps
- Indicators to estimate impacts from energy efficiency activities
Pure Leapfrog & SELCE have produced a Monitoring & Evaluation Report for community energy groups which reviews existing tools and outlines a pilot standardised tool.
This psychology page on verywell.com outlines the theory of change related to behaviour change. This background information can help when planning your project.
The Centre for Theory of Change provides more in-depth resources related to theory of change.
For comprehensive guidance about planning and carrying out evaluation see the UK Government’s Magenta Book Guidance for Evaluation.
Nesta has produced this Guidance for Developing a Theory of Change for Your Programme.
The Charities Evaluation Service provides support to the third sector on evaluation.
Evaluation Support Scotland has produced accessible resources, particularly on how to analyse qualitative data.